The secretary general of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Mariano Crociata, said in a recent homily that the Church does not have any kind of contempt for the human body and sexuality, but that she does say “no to moral degradation and to contempt for modesty, sobriety and self-control.”
The bishop made his comments July 6 during a Mass on the feast of St. Maria Goretti at the house where the saint was martyred. He called the young saint “a witness of fidelity to one’s conscience and to God in the most extreme consequences and paid for with martyrdom.”
The testimony of Maria Goretti, who was stabbed 14 times in defense of her purity and who forgave her transgressor before dying, is still timely today and shows the need for rediscovering “words that are in disuse today, such as purity, chastity, virginity, which we struggle to say and that make us blush,” Bishop Crociata said.
And this is the paradox of our time, he went on, that today “we act and speak of things that ought to embarrass us, and we end up embarrassed of what is true, noble, just, pure, kind and honorable, of what is virtuous and merits praise.”
The example of Maria Goretti, the bishop said, “reminds us of certain fundamental human and Christian truths: the dignity and identity of the person, the grandeur of the body, the kindness of sexuality, the nature of freedom. There is therefore no contempt for the body; there is no taboo about sexuality, no fear of freedom.”
Bishop Crociata noted the devastating fact of the “daily spectacle of moral degradation” that is spread through the media, and urged young people to understand that “the body is not an object to be used indiscriminately.”
“No one should think that there is no grave misbehavior in this area, especially when minors are involved.” “Therefore we should question all the harm caused and consequences that result from having affected the innocence of entire new generations,” the bishop said.